This Friday will mark one of the biggest games of the entire season as we’re approaching the halfway point of the season.

The East Noble Knights (3-0) have dominated the competition out scoring their opponents 158-53. The Knights are averaging 196 passing yards and 302 rushing yards a game. Sophomore Zander Brazel has 533 passing yards with 8 TD passes, 2 picks, and 4 rushing touchdowns. 

Senior Kainon Carico comes in with 45 carries for 466 yards and 5 touchdowns. Senior Rowan Zolman leads the way with 7 catches for 206 yards and 3 scores. Rowan also has the team’s lone pickso far this season. Senior Nick Munson has 9 catches for 169 yards and 2 scores. 

On defense, senior Bryce Charles leads the way with 31 tackles on a team that’s averaging 77 a game. They also have recorded 11 sacks led by Trayce Holliday with 4 and Charles with 3. 

They’ll go against a powerhouse Leo (4-0) team that’s averaging 271 rushing yards a game led by Carson Hoeppner with 285 rushing yards and Mason Sheron with 284 

DJ Allen and Landen Livingston lead the way up front that makes Leo a very difficult team to tackle and stop the run. In fact, they’re so dominant that Leo has outscored their opponents 163-18 in their first halves alone. 

So for the Leo Lions, this is the first true test where they’ll have to play well for all 4 quarters, and they’ve yet to face an opponent who has forced them to go to their quarterback, Jackson Barbour. Barbour, as a field general of this power run offense has been great. But when he’s had to throw the ball, he’s made some mistakes to this point. 

However, same can be said for East Noble who hasn’t played a team that’s 1. Put any kind of contested pressure on Brazel 2. Contain Rowan Zolman and Nick Munson and 3. Take away the running game. In many ways, Leo and East Noble have guys that can tackle, be physical, run the football, and play strong defense. 

There’s no game out there that presents with more hype, skill, and competition than these two elite NE8 teams. 

Since the conference was formed in 2015, East Noble has won 5 of those 8 meetings including back-to-back sectional championships that were won over Leo. 2 of Leo’s 3 wins against East Noble have come in Kendallville. 

Either way, this game will likely determine your 2021 NE8 champions and a strong indicator on whose the favorite in 4A sectional 19.